Matt Damon

I love Matt Damon. Ok, not really, but really. Well, maybe it’s a little more to the point say that I love his character choices, because what do I know about the man? Mattrivia can be summed up in a few bullets, friend of Ben and Brad and George, academic parents, Harvard drop-out, screenwriter and actor, married with two kids, interested in politics. That’s it, so I’m sticking with characters; there’s more to say.

Bourne Ultimatum

The latest installment in the Bourne series is no exception to the rule. In fact, The Bourne Ultimatum directed by Paul Greengrass (he also directed number two, The Bourne Supremacy) is probably the best of the three. Catering to those of us too impatient to be bothered with such pesky little things like exposition, Greengrass drops the audience in media res into a getaway scene and the action barely ceases from that point on. It is to his credit that he manages to incorporate the necessary background information into these fast-paced scenes. As for Matt, in the words of NY Times film reviewer Manohla Dargis, he’s a “missile,” usually engaged with lethal force, but if not, he’s cocked, locked and loaded for the next target.

David Strathairn

Describing the slippery CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen (superbly played by David Strathairn), Dargis also notes the parallels between his choices and those made by members of the current administration with respect to Abu Ghraib. However, such comparisons only skim the surface of what Greengrass accomplishes with this film. For in it, Jason Bourne represents a kind of everysoldier, that is the best intentions of every American soldier fighting overseas today. As we learn, Bourne signed himself up to serve his country and protect American lives. However, in the process of doing so, he literally loses his identity and goes from being a soldier to a hit man, mindlessly doing the bidding of officials who use him for personal gain. Bourne’s slow process of awakening, as well as his desire to take revenge upon those who allegedly did this to him echoes our own gradual coming to terms with our current administration’s agenda in Iraq. Like Bourne, our best intentions were manipulated as we were led astray by officials with poorly planned agendas and personal vendettas. (See the recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times by active members of the U.S. Armed Forces for a firsthand explanation of what’s wrong with Iraq.) Eventually Bourne learns that he has no one but himself to blame for the loss of his identity, but knows too that it is on his shoulders to end the charade of patriotism by disavowing his identity as Jason Bourne. In doing so, Greengrass argues that we too must take back our rightful identities and end what began in folly.

Sources: The picture of Matt Damon is borrowed from People magazine, The Bourne Ultimatum onesheet comes from and the picture of David Strathairn can be found on CanMag’s website.